The attention that is everywhere being devoted to education holds out some promise of hope for the future. In a war against the forces of barbarism, whose goal is the enslavement of the human mind and the imposition of the rule of “the master-race,” the importance of education as an instrument for preserving and enriching the ideals for which the human race has struggled for centuries could, indeed, not be ignored.
In the plans for educational reconstruction in the post-war period the reform of higher education is likely to assume an important position. Except in the United States the tempo of reform in this area has been slower than in any other area in education. The war has indicated the importance of trained personnel and leadership; in the social and economic changes which will inevitably follow in the post-war period their importance will be increased. The twentieth Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, is devoted to a series of articles on higher education in the English-speaking countries of the world, which seek to present a review of the status of higher education, the difficulties encountered under war conditions, and the reforms needed to meet the demands of the post-war world.
In the current movement to promote better understanding among the Republics of the Western Hemisphere there is no field which is more important than education. The crisis in world affairs which has helped to bring the peoples of North and South America together in a common effort is at the same time helping to clarify in each of the countries concerned the ideals which, however differently they may be expressed, have a common basis. In no field of national endeavor is this more clearly illustrated than in the efforts which are being everywhere put forward for the improvement of education.
When it became clear that it would be impossible to secure contributions from abroad in order to ensure the issue of the Educational Yearbook within the usual limits of time, the editor undertook to maintain the continuity of the series by writing the volume himself as a summary of an era which is now closing.
The end of an era has been reached. While the outcome of the war is still uncertain no man can foretell what the nature of the new era will be. Those who still have faith that the struggles of man for a world in which justice and right will prevail have not been in vain must take heart and live in the hope that the new era will be based on conditions under which the worth and dignity of the human being can be realized.
In the period which followed the world war the accent of educational theory has everywhere been on change. It is true that this note had already been sounded earlier, but it was sounded much more loudly, more emphatically, and even more stridently in the past two decades.
Of all the forces that determine the character of an educational system none have been more powerful or more permeating than the political. Histories of education have in the main concerned themselves with the evolution of educational theories as determined by changes in culture, by differences in philosophies, and by the development of psychology. Rarely have the intimate relationships between education and politics been stressed.
The impact of the political theory of the state upon education is nowhere more clearly noticeable than in the charter of its administration, which is the immediate and direct expression of the educational aims of the state or of the kind of citizen which the state desires the schools to produce.
The nineteenth century was devoted to the provision and establishment of universal elementary education, but the education given at this stage was mass education which hoped by the dissemination of literacy to provide the intellectual and moral preparation necessary for life. "Open a school and close a jail" was the accepted slogan.
During the past two decades no single problem has received as much attention in all parts of the world as the education of the adolescent. Conflicting opinions and theories on the education of the child have in the main been concerned with the organization of content and methods of instruction and with the degree to which the emphasis should be placed on the experience and activity of the child or on a reconciliation of these with a planned curriculum.
The time comes in the development of every profession when the methods of preparation for it and its status must be re-examined. This re-examination is due not merely to the expansion of the knowledge which practitioners of a profession must master, but to the changes in the practice of the profession which this advancing knowledge brings with it.
To attempt to prophesy the development of education in the years that lie ahead may appear to be a foolish venture. Should the totalitarian states win the present war, the picture is already clear. Education will be converted into propaganda; teachers will be regimented to carry out the dictates of the conqueror; free intellectual activity will cease to exist and intelligence will be harnessed to the will of the state.
Of all branches of education adult education not only is the least well defined, but will probably remain the least susceptible of definition. If evidence for this statement is desired it will be found in the present volume, which, in the accounts of adult education in fifteen countries, shows a range of activities in adult education from courses for the liquidation of illiteracy to courses at the university level.
In a period of crisis such as that through which the whole world is passing it is unnecessary to offer any justification for devoting the present volume, the sixteenth Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, to a discussion of "The Meaning of a Liberal Education in the Twentieth Century."
The present volume of the Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, the fifteenth of a series inaugurated in 1924,1 is devoted to the discussion of a problem which is assuming increasing importance in the educational developments of most of the countries of the world—the problem of rural education.
In the present volume the review of educational progress in those countries whose educational systems were described in the earlier Educational Yearbooks is continued. The main issues are the same as those discussed in the Introduction to the Educational Yearbook, 1936. As short a period as one year has injected a new issue which may well cause alarm to those interested in the progress of education. There has in the past year been an intensification of the programs for rearmament on a scale and at a cost unparalleled in the history of the world.
A dozen years have now passed since the first volume in this series of Educational Yearbooks appeared. The period has been marked by one of the most serious crises in the world's history. New issues have been raised which few were able to anticipate twelve years ago, although warning voices were heard here and there.
The twelfth volume of the Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, is devoted to the subject of teachers' associations in seventeen countries.
The twelfth volume of the Educational Yearbook is devoted to the subject of teachers' associations in seventeen countries. Although there exist a number of international organizations of teachers' associations, an international survey of the work of teachers' associations has not yet been made. The present volume undertakes such a survey.
In 1931 the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, in cooperation with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, organized an International Conference on Examinations, which was held at Eastbourne, England, on May 23–25 of that year. As a result of that Conference it was decided to appoint national committees in England, Scotland, France, Germany, and Switzerland to conduct intensive studies of the problems of examinations in their respective countries.
To those who still retain their faith in liberalism and democracy as a way of life, and who cannot forget the struggle by which mankind attained to the ideals inherent in liberalism and democracy, the present crisis in world affairs offers the most serious challenge. The Revolutions which have taken place since the Great War have been founded on direct criticisms of democratic forms of government.
The great flood of educational contributions under the National Socialist régime is devoted to two main tasks, first to destroy all vestiges of the contributions to education made during the Republican period, and, second, to build up a new philosophy of education based on the doctrines of the Revolution.
The first task which the Government of the Third Reich undertook in the field of education was to eliminate from all its branches every element of freedom and liberalism which had been introduced under the Republic and had been guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution of 1919. Liberalism in education with its emphasis on individualism was decried as Marxist, despite the fact that it represented the result of a struggle, on the part, at any rate, of the elementary school teachers, of three quarters of a century.
That the whole or any large part of the education of the people should be in State hands, I go as far as anyone in deprecating. All that has been said of the importance of individuality of character, and diversity in opinions and modes of conduct, involves, as of the same unspeakable importance, diversity of education.
Missionary activities in foreign lands and among backward peoples have in the last quarter of a century become so extensive and have acquired so much importance that it was decided to devote this, the tenth. Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, to a survey of what has come to be at least the second, if not the first, in importance among missionary enterprises, that is, the provision and organization of education.
WHATEVER may be the defects of American educational v practice, no one can maintain that educational theory is ever at a standstill.1 No sooner has one theory been propounded than another is suggested to take its place, even before it has been given a serious trial in practice.
The selection of The Relation of the State to Religious Education as the subject of discussion in the ninth Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, was determined by a desire to collate the practices of a number of countries on a question which is of immediate practical importance.
In presenting this, the eighth Educational Yearbook of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, the practice is continued of devoting the whole volume to the study of a single problem. In selecting as the topic of the present volume, Education in Colonial Dependencies, the Institute has aimed to bring together for the first time a discussion of the practices of the leading nations whose expansion has imposed upon them the responsibility of looking after the educational needs of what are variously called backward, native, or indigenous peoples.
In discontinuing the practice followed in the first five volumes of the Educational Yearbook of presenting descriptive accounts of the educational systems of a number of countries, and in devoting each volume for the present to the discussion of some single problem which is of major concern in the educational development of most countries, it has been felt that a contribution of importance is being made to the study of comparative education.
The present volume, the sixth Educational Yearbook issued by the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University, is devoted to the consideration of a single problem—The Philosophy Underlying National Systems of Education—instead of descriptive accounts of educational systems as were the previous volumes. The discussion of the topic, so fundamental for education, has been approached from a number of different angles.
It has been the habit of those groups that profess concern for the American tradition to attribute all the weaknesses that have developed in the fiber of American character and institutions to the changes which have occurred in more recent decades as a result of the introduction of new elements into the population. These groups have tended to idealize the earliest history of the country and to derive from that-period the origins of American institutions.
The progress and development of education in the greater part of the world have been described in the previous and present issues of the Educational Yearbook. The general trend appears to be marked by common tendencies due in part to the contributions of educational theory, in part to a heightened realization of the importance of education for national development.
The present volume of the Educational Yearbook brings the list of countries whose educational systems have been described almost up to fifty. The importance of these accounts should transcend their mere value as descriptions of the status of education throughout the greater part of the world and should furnish to the student of education some notion of the major problems of education with which the world is to-day confronted.
If it were possible to isolate from the growing multiplicity and complexity of educational problems two that are most widespread in their ramifications, these would be, first, the organization of a system of education suited to the needs of progressive democracy and the varying capacities of future citizens, and second, the adaptation of curriculum and methods to the requirements of the twentieth century and in accordance both with the new status of education and the more recent contributions of education.
The present volume is the second Educational Yearbook issued by the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University.
THE first two volumes of the Educational Yearbook have presented descriptions of the educational systems of twenty-three countries. This conspectus makes possible a comparative study of the progress of education in its different branches and grades, and at the same time throws into relief the more outstanding problems that confront the educators of the world.